So... how comes no one's making a decent hand drill these days?

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Forum topic by Benvolio posted 06-05-2014 10:26 PM 5391 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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148 posts in 2137 days

06-05-2014 10:26 PM

I adore the old miller’s falls hand drills as much as the next guy, but my shop time is so limited, I won’t have the time to restore one… But I’m still in the market for a nice hand drill

Does anyone know of any manufacturer who’s making a nice one these days? I don’t trust new Stanley tools and all the others on the market just seem like cheap Chinese tat.

Anyone else having this problem?


-- Ben, England.

15 replies so far

View Don W's profile

Don W

19018 posts in 2774 days

#1 posted 06-05-2014 10:33 PM

I don’t know how it is in England, but here in the states you can buy decent hand drills at flea markets for next to nothing. If I was a manufacturer, I’d think twice as well.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View JAAune's profile


1853 posts in 2523 days

#2 posted 06-05-2014 11:19 PM

Did you check Garret Wade? Sometimes they have things like that.

-- See my work at and

View shampeon's profile


1887 posts in 2389 days

#3 posted 06-05-2014 11:28 PM

Lee Valley has both a eggbeater drill and braces. They’re pricey compared to vintage ones.


-- ian | "You can't stop what's coming. It ain't all waiting on you. That's vanity."

View knockknock's profile


458 posts in 2379 days

#4 posted 06-05-2014 11:57 PM

I was looking a couple of months ago for an egg-beater style hand drill. I ended up getting one made by Schroeder of Germany. I got the one with a 3/8” chuck and 2 pinions (they also make them with 1 pinion, and smaller with 1/4” chuck). I would consider it a decent quality tool. It works okay, is reasonably machined, but doesn’t have oiling holes for the shafts and a spring clip holds the main gear on.

-- 👀 --

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2898 posts in 2231 days

#5 posted 06-06-2014 07:05 AM

If you chuck an egg beater in one, the egg beater drill makes a pretty good egg beater.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View schnable's profile


24 posts in 2287 days

#6 posted 06-06-2014 02:41 PM

I see lots of Millers Falls #2 on ebay going for around $25.


-- Andrew

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8154 posts in 3582 days

#7 posted 06-06-2014 03:52 PM

”So… how comes no one’s making a decent hand drill these days?”

Because the batteries just won’t hold a charge very long! ;-)

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View bandit571's profile


21801 posts in 2889 days

#8 posted 06-06-2014 04:31 PM

Just arrived in a box today:
Stanley #620 single speed drill, with a label, too.

Film @ 11:00

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View swarfrat's profile


39 posts in 1661 days

#9 posted 06-06-2014 04:42 PM

I bought one, because I was tired of my cordless drill always having a dead battery. I still like the concept, but the chuck in the one I bought is absolutely horrid. Doesn’t stay stight, doesn’t stay on the threads, and runout is about what you’d expect if it were made by Captain Kirk from available materials while being chased by a Gorn.

View Ocelot's profile


2115 posts in 2844 days

#10 posted 06-06-2014 05:04 PM

Garratt Wade has the “yankee” push-drill type as well.

We had a drill of that general type in the tool drawer at home when I was growing up. I don’t recall anybody ever drilling a hole with it. We also had the eggbeater and brace. I wonder where the brace went.


View b2rtch's profile


4868 posts in 3254 days

#11 posted 06-06-2014 05:14 PM

View Gilgaron's profile


19 posts in 1791 days

#12 posted 06-06-2014 07:06 PM

I was googling a while back about braces and so forth and stumbled across a post by Rob Lee elsewhere where he stated that the size (and price point) of the antique manual drill market plus the tolerances required for manufacture made it cost prohibitive to manufacture and expect to recoup your costs. A plane has far fewer parts and I know I personally have far more refurb Stanley and Sargents than I do Veritas.

View Benvolio's profile


148 posts in 2137 days

#13 posted 06-06-2014 09:59 PM

hmmm… there’s still nothing that I’d call a `nice drill`...

even the new Lee Valley and stanleys just look ugly and functional; none of the swirly finesse of the MF type 5.

That being said,

the Bridge City drill is soooo pretty!! We need more of them

-- Ben, England.

View Benvolio's profile


148 posts in 2137 days

#14 posted 06-10-2014 11:15 AM

well… that being said , I just blagged a box fresh Stanley 803 for £16 (~$20).... in the UK that’s a good price.

So with these sort of things on the market – there’s no wonder manufacturers aren’t putting out new drills.


-- Ben, England.

View Gilgaron's profile


19 posts in 1791 days

#15 posted 06-10-2014 12:48 PM

Yeah, at $20 you could get one for each bit you had before you hit the BC price, and I imagine the tooling to make the BC costs more than for a LN plane even if there are similar price differentials between the antique and new markets.

The other rationale that I’d read and forgot about until now was that people are more excited about planes and things because they are surface tools, so you can see the difference. No one can tell if you used a power drill or hand drill looking at your work.

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